Redundancy is a type of wordy phrase in which, usually, one word is giving the message and the other word is, in a different way, repeating the message. In the phrase
“VIN Number,” the term “VIN” already means Vehicle Identification Number, so following this phrase with the word “number” is redundant.
In the following list, I name a number of redundancies on the left side of the page. On the right side, I provide a substitute word or phrase that eliminates the redundancy
of the phrase on the left.
Maybe you think that using phrases like “IRA Account” or “true facts” or “cancel out” is small stuff and won’t result in lost business or even embarrassment. But for
people who are aware of redundancies, they may find a way to make a claims letter a laughingstock in a court of law. As a friend of mine once said, “Redundant phrases may be a trifle, but being aware of trifles can lead to perfection – and perfection is no
|any and all||all|
|as a general rule||as a rule|
|at this moment in time||at this time|
|circular in shape||circular|
|close proximity||near, close|
|combine into one||combine|
|consensus of opinion||consensus|
|consecutive in a row||consecutive|
|each and every||each|
|whether or not||whether|
A few on this list may not meet with your agreement: Why is “public media” redundant? Because all media is public.
Why is “chemotherapy treatment” redundant? Because therapy is a form of “treatment.”
Why is “completely honest” redundant? Because “honest,” like “pregnant” or “perfect” cannot be modified. They are known as superlatives. One is honest or not.
I hope you’ll e-mail me any redundancies you see in claims letters and I’ll be glad to write a follow-up column. Send them to me at email@example.com.